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Earth Eats: Real Food, Green Living

Georgina Ramsay: “And Suddenly No One Was Talking About Food”

Anthropologist Georgina Ramsay researched food poisoning amongst refugees in Uganda, but as she describes, starting anew in Australia led to other difficulties.

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    Photo: Courtesy of Indiana University Food Institute

    Anthropologist Georgina Ramsay is a visiting scholar at Indiana University

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    Photo: Courtesy of Georgina Ramsey

    The women Ramsey worked with used large mortars and pestles to grind cassava and sweet potato leaves.

It’s really hard to get people to illicit and actually express what is something that is just so obvious to them. And whenever I tried to sort of ask about the details, like ‘How do people get poisoned? How does it get into the food? Where does it come from?’ I would get this pretty standard response of, ‘How would I know? I don’t poison people.’

Anthropologist Georgina Ramsay spent time with refugees in Uganda. Her article Avoiding Poison: Congolese Refugees Seeking Cosmological Continuity in Urban Asylum was published in the International Journal of Social and Cultural Practice in 2016.

Ramsay speaks with Leigh Bush and Maddie Chera of Indiana University’s Food Institute about what happened to refugees’ food lives when they started anew in Australia:

I’ve emphasized how important cassava is… But when you get to Australia, these women were trying to recreate their worlds, and they couldn’t grow cassava… The temperate climate just didn’t allow it, but they kept trying. So, they were like putting these little seedlings into the ground and just watching them die.

Also today, we continue cooking up recipes that use wild foods. Chef Daniel Orr plucks some nasturtiums and marigolds for a very pretty tea sandwich. Then, we give the birds a break from their constant foraging by making a suet cake.

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Annie Corrigan

Annie Corrigan is a producer and announcer for WFIU. In addition to serving as the local voice for NPR's Morning Edition, she produces WFIU's weekly sustainable food program Earth Eats. She earned degrees in oboe performance from Indiana University and Bowling Green State University.

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